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    How to increase case acceptance with preconditioning

    Patient interactions should involve your whole office, from the decorations to the staff.

    Presenting your patient with a treatment plan is one thing — but getting them to accept it is the tricky part. If they don’t say yes, all your careful marketing efforts have failed. Closing the deal is especially difficult with newer patients who have not had time to build a trusting relationship with you. This is where preconditioning can save the day.

    Preconditioning starts before a new patient steps into your office. Referrals are the best source of new patients. They are coming in because someone they trust told them that you are a great dentist. This paves the way for a fast and easy comfort level.

    With external advertising, it’s a lot tougher. You want the new patient to walk through the door already believing that you are an excellent dentist. Start with top-rate ads if you choose to advertise, and a distinctive web site that projects the expert touch. Train your staff to answer the phones with a warm and inviting tone. Upon arrival, it’s imperative the front desk staff greets them with enthusiasm and a big, friendly smile.

    Happy dental patientWhile waiting in your reception area, give them something to do. I recommend you place a portfolio album with patient before and after pictures of a variety of services you provide. You want the patient to think: “I want Dr. Smith to do that to my teeth!” It never hurts to have some family pictures in the front of the book to add the personal touch. I have several of those books in my waiting room and every day I see patients flipping through them. It’s always a helpful aid when I am presenting a treatment plan and the patient says, “Yes, I saw that in your book out front.” There are also some excellent educational and promotional programming available to display on a television. You can also display posters with beautiful results of your cosmetic work.

    Related article: The question you NEED to be asking patients

    It is helpful to plant some seeds with your registration and health history form. Asking questions like “Are you happy with your ability to chew your food properly?” can get them thinking about proper function. “Rate your smile on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being perfect)” and “On a scale from 1 to 10, what would you like your smile to be?” can get the wheels turning towards considering cosmetic treatment. These questions can also give you a good heads-up on the patient’s thought process and helps you steer them in a direction that they value as important.

    Once the patient is back in a treatment room, it’s time for the staff to spring into action. Staff members need to jump at any opportunity to brag about your wonderful dentistry and the long-lasting, quality treatments you offer. Much easier than having to brag about yourself!

    Up next: How the hygienist can help

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